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Messages - Wilshire

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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: February 22, 2022, 03:32:41 pm »
As a trade for TDTCB, seems fair. I wont be reading it, but good for you for giving it a shot!

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: February 01, 2022, 03:37:07 pm »
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker (1)
Hey this was a fun book. My first KJP and well worth it. Light hearted (generally) and funny, KJP spins a nice story without spoiling it by going into too many details. I'll definitely be wanted to read more from him.

The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron (2)
I continue to enjoy Cameron. His books feel weighty and crunchy. This can be detrimental at times, when too much time is spent on inconsequential topics/plots, since they quickly feel overbearing and slow. But when Cameron focuses on the things that you care about, it makes an impact. As always the physical conflicts feel powerful - knights dueling, cavalry charges, man at arms taking the hill, the clash of monsters and men. These things have a visceral feel because of Cameron's talent.

The worldbuilding is  nice, driven largely by the plot and revealed at a pace that is acceptable. Enough mystery to go around but with enough explanation to keep the reader up to speed.

Character relationships are a mixed bag. Some feel forced and or contrived, but at the end of the day when someone not wearing plot armor dies horribly you feel sad about it.

The series as a whole is working for me. The path Cameron is taking is circuitous, and mostly this is fun. A few times there is a bog of details that are just not necessary, with characters and plots that end suddenly and/or obviously in a way that makes me wonder why the details were necessary at all. But largely the efforts made to bring the world and its characters to life are well worth the time to read. I feel compelled to read on, and so I will!

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: January 24, 2022, 01:13:45 pm »
I enjoyed Senlin Ascends but the subsequent book wasn't enough for me to want to finish.

Literature / Yearly Reading Targets 2022
« on: January 04, 2022, 07:01:07 pm »
New year, new books! Or trying to finish old ones. Or rereads. Or...

This year I'm going to try to read more consistently. Despite reading 27 books, I didn't complete any books after August last year, which feels bad. Plenty of things I still want to read.

Startide Rising by David Brin
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert
Among Others by Jo Walton
The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie
The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

January (1)
1) Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker

February (2)
1) The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron

March (3)
1) The Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron

April (6)
1) The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron
2) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
3) Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

May (7)
1) The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

June (10)
1) The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
2) The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
3) The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

Sep (12)
1) Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
2) Among Others by Jo Walton
x) Malice by John Gwynne DNF

Oct (15)
1) The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
2) Against All Gods by Miles Cameron
3) The Goblin Emperor

Nov (16)
1) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: January 04, 2022, 06:54:59 pm »
I finally finished Pandora's star. I'm going to count it for 2021 because I only had like 20 minutes left on the audiobook.

It was tough to finish. Not because it was bad, but I just lost interest in the story. I admit at least partial fault since it took so long. But I do still blame Hamilton. Its just too long, too many individual characters and plots spread over too many ideas.  Its a good Space Opera, but so long that you will really need to be in the mood for it.

The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« on: December 13, 2021, 03:41:47 pm »
One of the best things about TSA is the foreshadowing. Whether intentional or not by Bakker, its these little moments, like those you highlighted, that make the entire series feel like it was fully developed prior to being written. There are discontinuities and/or reversals that prove this isn't the case, but at the very least many specific events past/future are linked together beautifully.

Saubon selling his soul to be king for a day is fantastic, especially because its so literal. He is hardly a sovereign King for more than a few days before becoming part of Kellhus' Empire, and he does end up damned (though this is a fate that basically everyone shares). Fantastic stuff like this is what makes the series worth reading and rereading, over and over.

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: November 03, 2021, 12:56:16 pm »
Well I'm glad that one worked out for you. Those are some interesting comparisons, and I'll try to remember it later when I'm looking for a book. I've been struggling to finish a Peter F Hamilton book, which is a space opera that started out fun but has really dragged towards the end. Empire of Silence might be something I read in the future to make up for it.

I actually don't think I ever really thought about the Inchoroi bringing out old weapons race from previous planets and unleashing them on Earwa. So when Wutteat talked about traveling through the void I just assumed that meant they found him out there and let him tag along for some reason.

However with that now under consideration, it seems more likely he was created - just a much older creation than anything else they unleased on Earwa.

Its vague, but the general consensus is Wutteat was found in space. I believe the books are more clear that Wutteat is the template that the Earwa inchoroi used to create the Wracu.
I wouldn't call it consensus - it's so far one person's head canon, which other people seemed to for some reason accept without further examination.

Wutteat says something about traveling through the void through the ages, maybe even many worlds, so its at least somewhat supported by the text, rather than "one persons' head canon".

All this to say, Wracu very much fit into the standard Weapon Race role. They aren't exceptional, other than their physical variation. I see no significant reasons for why they should have special rules.
It's more that Bakker's comments seem to imply that - he outright states that Wracu have souls, that they have metaphysical interaction with Chorae, that their fire is neither sorcerous nor mundane, that they might be living topoi, etc.

I'm always of the opinion that Bakker's comments aren't particularly reliable or even generally useful. If its not in the books, and we've got 7, then its speculation. Interesting topics for conversation maybe, to try and fit what he says into the books, but hardly evidence imo.

Why does the Wracu high rate of mutation rule out selective breeding?  Its a basic tool of managing traits and the high rate of mutation means you're going to have a bunch that don't function very well or can't live because they're messed up internally.  Sky high hatching mortality is likely and probably keeps their numbers low.   Wracu are long lived so its quite possible their have only been a few generations with which to direct their development.
This just isn't how selective breeding works. It takes thousands of generations to get any meaningful separation of species/traits. When dealing with something that has any kind of generation time measured in years, let alone decades, this is just not possible. It would take millions, 10s of millions, of years to get what you have with the wracu. Since they were created on Earwa, its just not possible.

Granted, there's a ton of nonsensical biology that goes on in Earwa. We can simply say that "alien biology works differently", and therefore literally anything is possible. I find this unsatisfying, but acceptable. Magical Inchoroi "technology" coupled with infinitely "alien" biology, and a case can be made for anything. But if we're assuming any kind of IRL biology, selective breeding isn't possible.

I've seen zero evidence that Skin Spies are more intelligent than Wracu.  Skin Spies are trained to mimic men and infiltrate, which is something Wracu obviously can't do but they certainly comprehend and use language.
I disagree completely, but we're reading the same stuff so there's nothing else to say for this one. IMO, complex social behaviors indicate an extraordinary level of intelligence, well beyond anything we see of the wracu - which are closer to bashrag/sranc though maybe a bit smarter.

Did they find Wutteat in space?  The lines given suggested to me that he had been created in the Ark while it was in space. 
Its vague, but the general consensus is Wutteat was found in space. I believe the books are more clear that Wutteat is the template that the Earwa inchoroi used to create the Wracu.

As for the No-God controlling the Wracu, the writings suggest to me willing submission not control.   The No-God does not shout through Wracu throats.   They behave like vassals, not puppets.
That's not how I remember it, but its been a long time.

Souls in Earwa aren't the product of pure intelligence, but they do seem to require a near human level of intelligence because souls clearly require a significant level of self awareness.
I agree with H here, intelligence and souls seem to be unrelated imo. If random animals can have souls, then its not an intelligence thing.

The Wracu seem to possess this, although that might not be true.  Unlike Skin Spies we are not privy to their thoughts.
We have few intereaction with Wracu, especially disregarding Wutteat, but imo they show very limited awareness of any kind. Something closer to a sranc than anything else.

The other Weapon Races are dominated by their instincts and seem to lack both self awareness and ability to process contradictions.
Being dominated by instincts doesn't preclude the existence of a soul, nor does it guarantee it. Again, random animals can have souls.
Skin-spies must be extremely self aware to do what they do. As for the rest, probably not, and I include Wracu in that.

Sranc aren't as senseless as you seem to think though. For example, they have language, culture, complex social structures. They also are used as Elju for Nonmen, which indicates a huge capacity for not just memory and recall, but also communication.

All this to say, Wracu very much fit into the standard Weapon Race role. They aren't exceptional, other than their physical variation. I see no significant reasons for why they should have special rules.

Wracu were created on Earwa just like the rest of the weapons races, iirc. Wutteat was apparently found somewhere in the void and tagged along, but the Wracu were created to fight the Quya, which would have been centuries after The Fall once the Inchoroi exhausted their other weapons.

The Wracu are also controlled by the No God, just like the other races. They might be more intelligent than sranc, for example, but we have seen high levels of intelligence from skin-spies. Maybe even more so - they are in fact so intelligent that no one can tell they are fakes based on their behavior or speech. My point being that we know that Skin Spies do not have souls and imo they are smarter than Wracu, so it seems unlikely that Wracu have souls - especially since their behavior is so bestial compared to the skin-spys.

I'm pretty sure that if the Inchoroi could have created a great deal of skin-spy schoolmen, they would have. That they did not is proof that they cannot. The same goes for Wracu. They created the wracu to compete with the Nonmen Quya. If they were able to make more effective tools that could compete directly, meaning with the use of better and stronger magic, they would have. But again they didn't, which to me clearly means they cannot.

The Inchoroi themselves are a created ensouled race - or appear to be. But they were definitely not given the tools to make ensouled weapons-races themselves. The Inchoroi themselves know very little other than what the proginators gave them, and I doubt the proginators wanted their weapon-race to be creating a bunch of ensouled being and leaving them around the galaxy.

Regarding wracu breeding, its extremely unlikely the Inchoroi were using animal husbandry to create wracu. For one, they appear to be very divergent as individuals which is basically impossible with selective breeding (we don't have dogs that have 85 legs or that can breathe underwater). There are also simply not enough wracu for it to be possible for some kind of breeding system to have taken place. I also think they have a lifespan that is far to  great to make breeding in the few thousands years they've had on Earwa to be in the cards. Its really just not possible all around.

The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« on: September 02, 2021, 12:19:14 pm »
I have always found rereads rewarding for TSA, especially going back through the whole series once a new book was released. I admit that I haven't done this post-TUC though. After  X many reads it feels like there shouldn't be anything left... obviously this isn't the case though! What comes after determines what comes before.

I don't have a great memory so connections between books has always been somewhat fleeting to me unless I'm coming down from a reread. I'll have to take a look through the two chapters you've mentioned there and see what there is to see.

As always, thanks for posting! Its been quite around here for a while, but there are still those of us lurking. Share with us, the silent audience, your revelations as they come ;)

Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« on: July 28, 2021, 02:06:18 pm »
Empire's Ruin by Brian Staveley (25)

The newest installment in the Unhewn Throne universe, taking place some 5-10 years after the events of the previous book. New characters, new troubles, some great writing. Staveley does a good job at keeping the religion/philosophy on the back burner and not letting it get in the way of the series. Similar to his previous books, the story follows 3 separate groups which you can see imagine coming together at the end of the series in a conflagration.

Trying to think back to Emperor's Blades, I think Staveley's writing has improved. That said, I'm not entirely sure all the stories in his most recent book are as individually compelling as they were for Unhewn Throne. Time will tell though, and I look forward to Staveley's writing career.

Bloodline by Will Wight (26)
What can I say. Its the same books, more/less, every time. But its still fun. There is something entertaining about magical kung-fu. This book feels like Wight picked a new direction for the series. Maybe "new direction" is too extravagant, but there at least appears to be a new goal, a lot of storylines were wrapped up, the general narrative will likely tighten a bit in the future because of this, and it seems new foundations were laid for probably another 10 books.

I think probably "portion of god" and/or Third Sight seems something closer to Intellect than Soul. Why else would Moenghus shine so brightly. Also, this explains why Skin Spies wouldn't necessarily jump out in the Third Sight.

The Cish don't see souls, but something else entirely.

I was thinking about this again, going back to Bakker's D&D campaign...perhaps what the Cish see is the relative portion of stats?

Souls "shine" in the sense that great souls have great intellect/charisma/wisdom...possibly even physical stats are the usual manifestation of a great soul. And since this has always worked out, as far as the Cish can explore metaphysics (they don't seem to have any facility with the Daimos) they just see the skin-spies perfect machinery as bright souls?

Skin-spies, other than raw intellectual power, would probably be very similar to dunyain. They are calculating, can do complex impressions which implies a great deal of intellect and/or problem solving capability, and they are physically stronger and faster than the Dunyain. Kellhus wins his engagements with them through trickery and luck, plus the ever present Superior Intellectual Prowess.

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